22 Apr 2015

What is PRINCE2 methodology?

Posted by Paul Atkin

What is PRINCE2 methodology?

What is PRINCE2?  It’s PRojects IN Controlled Environments, version 2.  It is a project management methodology which works for any size or subject of project.

It does this successfully because it concentrates on what all projects have in common:  the need to deliver something of value to the sponsoring organization within constraints of time, cost, quality, risk, scope and benefit.  So PRINCE2 is a management method, not a technical one.

PRINCE2 has many benefits and it is free to use.

At it’s heart…

A PRINCE2 project is driven by the Business Case document.  This document justifies the start, middle and end of the PRINCE2 project and should be thought of as the project’s life support system – you can’t have a 10 minute interruption in life support so, with PRINCE2, a project without a valid business case is not viable and should be stopped.  Projects exist to deliver value to the organization, if your project doesn’t do this, PRINCE2 says ‘game over’.

Where is it used?

PRINCE2 is global – by the end of 2010 over 1.5 Million Foundation or Practitioner exams had been taken on every continent (including Antarctica!).  Over 2,000 PRINCE2 exams are now taken every week.  In some parts of the world it is the dominant project management certification, particularly in the United Kingdom, Australia / New Zealand, the Netherlands and some European or Commonwealth countries.  Elsewhere the PMI’s PMP qualification is dominant but PRINCE2 and PMBOK complement each other well and many Canadian PMPs are now certified in PRINCE2.

Short History

PRINCE2 began life in 1975 in the UK the private sector as a method called PROMPT.  In 1979 PROMPT was bought by the UK Government and became the method for IT projects.  In 1989, PROMPT was developed into PRINCE and launched as a government IT project management method until, in 1996, a major revision by over 150 public and private sector organizations saw the launch of PRINCE2 as a generic project management method.

Every 5 to 10 years the method is revised after comments from an active user community and in the light of industry best practice.  There are no plans for ‘PRINCE3’:  PRINCE was the original IT project management method, PRINCE2 is the generic version, so upgrades show the year each version of PRINCE2 was revised, such as PRINCE2 2009 and more recently PRINCE2 6th Edition (2017).

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